Fri, 23 Jun 2017 16:36:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Leica Disto E7400x Review: A Trusty Sidekick? Fri, 26 May 2017 09:06:40 +0000 We’ve reviewed a few different laser measuring devices on this site and have seen everything from the very basic to the most advanced. The Leica Disto E7400x finds itself slap bang in the middle as a highly accurate laser measuring tool but without the flamboyant extras such as the camera for outdoor use.

Product Description: Accurate and Solidly Built

We’ve used a few of these devices in our reviews and as always, the Leica Disto E7400x impresses with its build quality. The company proudly boasts that you can drop the gadget from 2 meters without causing any damage and as soon as you hold it, you’ll believe it! Add in the IP65 certified water and dust protection and you have a device that should last as long as you need it to.

The actual appearance is less impressive. It looks a lot like an old phone and is small, boxy and rubber. At least the small size is compact and easy to carry around – and the red and black make for a nice colorscheme.

To use the Leica Disto E7400x, you simply pull out the folding extension at one end and then use that to lay it flat against whatever you want to measure – whether that’s a piece of wood or an alcove in a room. Either way, it will then present you with a highly accurate reading that you can take to the bank.

The device is capable of 1/16” accuracy at 265 feet and also includes height tracking, smart horizontal and more algorithms and sensors to ensure it knows where it is pointing and what angle you have it at. It will remember its last 20 measurements and is quick and easy to use.

Pros and Cons: Basic but Good

So, there are no high end features here. A 20 item memory isn’t exactly amazing and the lack of level is a disappointment. There is also no camera or touchscreen, which is something you would get if you were to fork out for the truly expensive models.

But then again, these issues may not be a problem depending on your use case scenario. The camera functionality is really mainly useful for outdoor use and is frankly a little slow and awkward in its implementation.

For this price, you’re getting the things that really matter – the top end accuracy and useful features like the tilt sensor for measuring things that you can’t actually reach – point the laser and move it up and down to get the measure of a given banner or wall.

For many people, there just isn’t a need for any more features than that – but this does still represent a marked and useful step up from something like the D110 (the most basic model). And you still get all of the other great benefits that are common from Leica Disto laser measures. We love the inclusion of the IP65 resistance and think that will come in particularly handy in highly dusty home workshops.

We reviewed this over a period of a few weeks and we found it made taking measurements into a quick and easy joy.

Conclusions: A Handy Device to Keep Around

If you’re happy with the boxy design, lack of level and lack of camera functionality, then the Leica Disto E7400x is a very easy measuring tool to recommend. It has all of the most essential features for a product in its category, it is very well made and will stand the test of time.

You know how some products are expensive and yet they come with problems? It might be because they have so many features they keep going wrong, or maybe it’s due to QC issues at the manufacturing plant.

But then on the other hand, you have those ‘old reliable’ tools that just always work. Perhaps it’s a trusty drill driver, or maybe you have an old camera that has been taking awesome pictures for the last 10 years.

The Leica Disto E7400x has potential to be one of those trusty sidekicks and to our mind, offers one of the best balances when it comes to performance, durability and price. It’s not going to break the bank but it has incredible accuracy and it just works.


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Black & Decker BDERO100 Review Thu, 18 May 2017 13:51:23 +0000 For years and years, Black and Decker tools really weren’t appreciated by professionals and craftspeople that relied on only the highest quality tools to help them complete their projects with a high degree of precision and consistency.

When we play all of our cards right out on the table, most people find – or found – Black and Decker tools to be much more geared towards homeowners and “casuals” that were only ever going to have to reach for these kinds of tools a handful of times each year (if that) and weren’t really looking for the kind of consistency or precision that professional craftsmen demand.

Today though, Black and Decker has almost completely revolutionized the premium level of the tools that they make available. Sure, they still pump out consumer grade options at ridiculously low price tags, but their craftsmen and professional line of tools – like the Black & Decker BDERO100 – have gotten much, much better.

Initial Impressions

The first thing that you are going to notice about the Black & Decker BDERO100 is that it has been almost completely reengineered and redesigned compared to all of the other random orbit sanders available from this company, and that’s great news!

This sander is very compact (especially as far as 5 inch orbital sanders are concerned), quite powerful, and crafted using high-quality materials that guarantee longevity that the Black and Decker brand just couldn’t promise in the past.

Combine all of that with a tremendously lower price tag compared to its closest competitors – we’re talking about the Black & Decker BDERO100 costing a third of what competing products cost while still producing almost identical results – and you’re looking at a random orbital sander here that you just can’t afford to sleep on any longer.

This isn’t to suggest that this Black & Decker model is the best in the business, but you shouldn’t just ignore those black and orange tools any longer. That’s sure.

Standout Features

You are going to get plenty of power (consistent power) out of this particular Black and Decker 5 inch random orbital sander. With an OPM rating of just north of 8000, you should be able to tackle all kinds of different jobs from refinishing a porch to sanding down and cleaning pieces of furniture come all the way to tackling the finest sanding jobs necessary for polishing and perfecting coats of polyurethane applied to your latest woodworking project.

Now, it is important for us to highlight the fact that this random orbital sander has been designed and engineered right from the factory to hit that wheelhouse of price and performance that hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts are after. That means this probably isn’t going to be the main workforce sander in your professional woodworking operation or the kind of random orbital sander you’ll want to bust out on all of your carpentry projects, either.

But because it uses the standard configuration of vent holes that almost all (but not every) popular random orbital sanders use for the hook and loop sanding pads it accepts you’ll be able to add this to your arsenal of tools without having to purchase proprietary sanding pads just for this device.

That’s definitely a big benefit and one of the standout features that you will come to appreciate from this particular setup.


  • The Black & Decker BDERO100 is tremendously lightweight, very compact, and ergonomic. This makes it a very attractive option to use overextended amounts of time, regardless of whether or not you are using it in the shop or out at a jobsite.
  • The components inside of the Black & Decker BDERO100 sander make it one of the most reliable and durable, though you probably aren’t going to be able to get 10+ years out of this sander the way you would be able to with more premium brands. But for its price point this is an attractive option for sure.
  • The ability to use standard configuration look and loop sanding pads in an almost infinite amount of different grit types makes this Black and Decker a no-brainer for those that will only it ever occasionally need to take advantage of the utility it brings to the table.


  • Even though this 5 inch random orbital sander doesn’t have an extended primary control handle like some of the other options on the market today, the actual handheld base is a little bit on the larger side which makes it a challenge for individuals with smaller hands to grip and control. Overextended amounts of time using this tool fatigue is definitely going to set in.
  • Some have complained that this random orbital sander gets a little bit “jumpy” because it is so lightweight, which means you may have to apply a little bit of extra pressure and downward force while sanding. This could leave swirl marks behind unless you go back and re-sand the entire project with finer and finer grits.

Who’s going to be able to get the most out of this tool?

Professionals in the carpentry and woodworking world probably aren’t going to have too many Black and Decker tools laying around a but this just might be one of those tools that make their way into more workshops as word gets out about what it’s able to offer.

At the same time, this is very much a DIYer and homeowner grade random orbital sander that’s not intended for extended and prolonged use (or daily abuse) the way that professional and craftsmen grade tools are.

Final Verdict

The Black & Decker BDERO100 guarantees that the market will have a very attractive and inexpensive sander option available for homeowners, DIYers, and weekend warriors to add to their tool collection

Sure, there are other more expensive options out there that the occasional user could reach for – random orbital sanders that have more power, more consistency, and a better reputation for longevity – but you just won’t find many other options that offer the blend of power and performance this unit offers at this price tag.

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Women in Construction: It is DISGUSTING how the USA lags behind Cambodia! Fri, 12 May 2017 13:37:29 +0000 A lot has changed in the last three decades: everyone is on the Internet, we all carry around high-speed computers in our pockets, and tapes and CDs are virtually non-existent. Yet, the plight of female construction workers remains the same. In the ‘80s, about three percent of construction workers in the United States were women. Today, whether they are building condos in the suburbs or high-rise downtown hotels, construction crews are still about three percent female according to a recent report from the National Women’s Law Center.

Why is that? What can we do to make construction a more female-friendly trade? And, as a real estate mogul, President Trump must be well aware of the issues facing female construction workers. What should he do about the issues these women are facing?

Problems Women in Construction Face

Discrimination – beginning in education programs and continuing all the way up the employment chain – is the main reason for the low percentage of women in the construction industry. Instead of being encouraged to enter traditionally male programs like construction, young women are often explicitly steered or at least subtly encouraged to work in occupations that align with traditional gender stereotypes in career and technical education (CTE) programs.

Once they get through their (CTE) programs, women next face discrimination as they try to join apprenticeship programs, which are run like “old boys’ clubs” that operate to exclude women and minorities. Research shows that women leave these apprenticeship programs at higher rates than men because of sexual harassment, lack of child care, and hostile work environments.

Once women clear the hurdles of education and apprenticeship, 88 percent of female construction workers experience sexual harassment at work according to a study by the U.S. Department of Labor. This is much more than the 25 percent who experience such treatment in the general workforce.

Basically, women face barriers to well-paid jobs, negative stereotypes about their ability to perform construction work, sexual tension injected into work contexts, and supervisors and other officials who are not willing to do anything about it.

How Does the US Compare to the Rest of the World?


The state of female construction workers in the US is pitiful when compared to other countries around the world. For instance, Cambodia is experiencing a massive construction boom. With little future in the agricultural trade, more women are moving to the cities. One-third of all construction workers in Cambodia are female. Unfortunately, despite their large numbers, women still face a wage gap and sexist attitudes in the workplace.

The situation in similar in nearby Thailand where women make up 40 percent of the migrant construction workforce in the country. However, with the level of sexual harassment these women face, it is almost a prerequisite that they have a husband to protect them.



What Changes Does the US Need to Make?

Back in the United States, it is clear that policymakers need to increase their efforts in making sure that women have equal opportunities in construction. As the nation continues its economic comeback, it is crucial that we ensure women are not left out of high-wage jobs that can contribute to their economic security. There are numerous federal agencies that can address and alleviate the challenges female construction workers face:

  • Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) – About 20 percent of the civilian workforce is under the jurisdiction of the OFCCP. This agency should increase its monitoring and oversight of contractors and strengthen the affirmative action requirements for women in construction.
  • Office of Apprenticeship – Apprentices and apprenticeship programs in all 50 states are registered with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship. They have the power to remove obstacles that female apprentices face.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that prohibit discrimination against an employee or job applicant based on gender. The Commission can increase its public education and enforcement of sexual harassment protections.
  • Department of Education – The Office of Civil Rights within the Department of Education also enforces several laws that prohibit discrimination in federally funded programs. Prioritizing retention and recruitment of women in nontraditional STEM and CTE courses requires vigorous enforcement of the existing civil rights laws.

Trump Needs to Deliver on His Promises

Who ultimately oversees all of these federal agencies? Our very own President Trump. Though not directly in charge of these offices, Trump chose the officials who fill the leadership positions, and he has considerable sway over the policies of the OFCCP, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Education.

During his campaign for president, Trump regularly deflected claims that he was sexist or a misogynist by claiming that many of his best executives were women. A New York Times article even profiled some of his female employees who insisted he was a champion of women. During a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau back in February, he vowed that helping women in the workforce would remain a priority for his administration.

But so far, it appears Trump is all talk. In fact, his actions show that he is working against women’s rights in the workforce. For example, in March, he used an executive order to revoke Obama-era protections for women workers.

President Trump needs to show that he is as good as his word and enact laws, such as the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces law that forces construction companies with federal contracts to engage in fair hiring practices, take sexual harassment claims seriously, and provide female construction workers with equal pay.

Resources for Women Interested in Construction Work

The bottom line is that the construction industry needs more women, especially in leadership roles. Fortunately, there are a number of organizations that realize this and are providing resources to help get women involved. These include the National Association of Professional Women in Construction, National Association of Women in Construction, and Women Construction Owners & Executives (WCOE) USA.

Women interested in construction should also check out blogs like, Constructing Equality, WCOE Blog, and The National Center for Construction Education and Research Blog.

The construction trade continues to be one of the most highly discriminatory industries in the world, but as women and men of all backgrounds put pressure on policymakers, including President Trump, equality is sure to follow.

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Makita BO5041K Review Sat, 06 May 2017 13:45:03 +0000 No shop is really complete without a random orbit sander, but with so many different options out there to pick and choose from finding the right one can be a real hassle.

Every major tool manufacturer puts out a random orbit sander, and all of them promise that theirs is going to be the most powerful, the easiest to use, and the one capable of producing the most consistent results.

But, from our perspective, the Makita BO5041K random orbital sander is one of the best money can buy today. Perfect for professionals and amateurs alike, this is a powerful, capable, and flexible sander that will boost the finished quality of your woodworking projects by quite a bit.

Initial Impressions

Look, there just aren’t a lot of people – professional woodworkers and finish carpenters unlike that are ever going to describe ANY random orbital sander as “sexy”. This is much more of a workhorse kind of tool, one designed to remove a considerable amount of material in a hurry while making the job of the finish guy a lot easier.

But there’s just something about this random orbital sander from Makita that has us glowing about the overall design and aesthetic, and it sure isn’t that now all-too-familiar Makita blue paint job!

Beautifully designed and incredibly ergonomic, you’re going to really appreciate the foresight and thought that went on behind the scenes at Makita to make of this 5 inch random orbital sander one of the most frequently reached for tools in our arsenal when it comes time to rough sand or finish sand any of our woodworking projects.

Ambidextrous use is really easy, the extra “power handle” gives you total control even when you are using rough or grits of sandpaper, and the integrated dust collection system never really gets in the way no matter how you are handling this sanding instrument.

The same things cannot be said about a lot of the other industry-leading orbital sanders out there, and this attention to detail and design/utility is something that we are really happy about with this Makita.

Standout Features

As far as standout features are concerned, we were at least a little bit nervous about the way that the primary handle was configured right off the bat – but it quickly became one of our favorite things about the overall design of this sander, especially when used with the “pistol grip” power handle.

You’ll always be in complete control over this random orbital sander (even with tougher grits and when you kick it into high gear at 12,000 OPM), and a lot of that is because of the intelligent design of the primary handle and the way that the pistol grip works.

Combine all of this with a tremendously energy efficient operation and the dust collection system that we mentioned above that just flat out works (you’ll be amazed at how clean your work surface and work area is and how long you can go before you have to dump out the bag) and you have something really special here.

It’s also nice that this Makita random orbital sander accepts all traditional sanding pads designed for 5 inch random orbital sanders, instead of going with a proprietary venting system like some of the other popular sanders on the market do.

You won’t ever feel like you are pigeonholed into purchasing specific (and unnecessarily expensive) sanding pads when you go with the Makita BO5041K.


  • The power of the tool is variable, giving you the ability to flip between a range of 4000 to 12,000 OPM depending upon the type of sanding you’ll be doing
  • Standardized sanding pads will work right out of the box with the Makita BO5041K, saving you quite a bit of money and avoiding a lot of headache
  • The dust collection system keeps you and your workspace clean and the intelligently designed dual handle mechanism eliminates a lot of fatigue


  • The carrying case for the Makita BO5041K isn’t exactly the most intelligently designed and certainly isn’t large enough to hold any more than five extra sanding pads at any point in time
  • Like most other Makita tools, you’re going to have to pay a little bit more to take advantage of a premium tool that should last years longer than most others
  • Some have complained about the balance of this random orbital sander, but most have doubled back on their initial reviews to say that they handle takes a bit of getting used to but once that “get to know you” block of time has passed the Makita BO5041K is actually quite effortless to use

Who’s going to be able to get the most out of this tool?

Professional woodworkers, finish carpenters, boatbuilders, and serious enthusiasts are going to get the most out of this particular random orbital sander, but honestly this is a premium tool designed and engineered so well that most any one that needs a 5 inch random orbital sander will be able to get more than their money’s worth out of this equipment.

DIYers and homebuilders may not get quite as much utility out of this specific unit, and may blanch a little bit at dropping $$$ on a woodworking tool that isn’t going to be a mainstay on their workbench, but we feel that Makita tools are worth the premium price tag.

Final Verdict

At the end of the day, there are plenty of different options out there to begin choose from when it comes time to invest in a random orbital sander, especially one as compact as this 5 inch unit.

And while there are certainly other options out there that are less expensive, you would be very hard pressed to find any random orbital sander that offers the kind of power, consistency, and intelligent design that this Makita BO5041K brings to the table.

It may not be the perfect random orbital sander out there (if a tool like that even exists), but it is certainly one of the best options available on the market today at any price point.

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Rigid EB4424 Oscillating Edge Belt and Spindle Sander Review Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:12:48 +0000 This is both a belt and spindle sander that will help you to smooth off curved and straight edges and remove any likelihood of getting splinters from your lovingly-crafted woodwork. For anyone looking for an affordable but highly capable sander, then the Rigid EB4424 oscillating edge belt and spindle sander should be at the top of your list of considerations.

Product Description: An Impressive 2-in-1

The first thing that is noteworthy about the Rigid EB4424 oscillating edge belt and spindle sander is the fact that it offers that two-in-one functionality. This is not common and actually it is one of the only products on the market that can serve dual purpose like this. It just requires a quick changeover and then it will be ready for the next task.

Another thing that’s appealing is the price. While more affordable sanders do exist, a professional-grade model will often set you back around much more.

The machine is actually more powerful than you might expect (see below) and has a lot of nice touches. There is more than ample work surface for example, tons of on-board storage for keeping the various sanding implements and very effective tracking adjustment. There’s even a good quality dust extraction system which is superior to many more expensive products on the market. This will help you to clear up sawdust as you go, keeping your workspace clear and reducing the amount of work you’re going to have to do afterward considerably.

In terms of power, this is actually very good for the price point. You’re not getting top-of-the range but this feels weighty and will handle most jobs you throw at it without feeling like it’s going to shake itself apart. It should provide enough oomph for most users with a little to spare.

Pros and Cons: Power and Convenience With a Couple of Mis-Steps

The obvious advantage of this product is the dual functionality. If you are someone who needs to sand a lot, then you’ll find you may need an oscillating spindle sander and a belt sander. That not only doubles your expense; it also means that you now need to find space for two pieces of equipment and you need to go and dig the other one out whenever you need it.

So that is a BIG pro for someone who finds themselves sanding a lot. And adding to the excellent value is the fact that you get a lot of extras in the packaging: abrasives for the belt and spindle, drum and sanding sleeves and everything else you need to get started.

The question really is whether or not a two in one at a very low price point like this can really compete with more expensive units. And of course, you’re not going to get the same level of performance as you would do with an industrial-grade piece of equipment. However, what you do get is a surprising amount of power. It’s also very quick to change the utility of the machine – switching it from a spindle sander to an edge belt sander is a matter of removing a knob, swapping the belt assemble for the sanding drum (or the other way around)… and that’s it! And the table tilts from 0-48 degrees to allow for accurate sanding.

So what about the downsides? Well, while the overall quality of this machine is very good, the table finish could be better. In our tests, continuous use began to wear down the finish on the table and this of course is a bit disappointing after you’ve spent a fair bit of cash on the device. It’s also worth noting that a couple of people have reported having parts break on them and some of the included pieces are a little flimsy. It’s not that this is cheaply made, it’s just that you’re getting what you’re paying for.

Conclusions: Great Value and Highly Unique

Overall though, this is still a fantastic purchase. While the build quality could arguably be slightly better in places, the overall value for money is hard to fault and as a way to essentially get two well-made pieces of equipment for the price of one, it’s an excellent choice.


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Milwaukee 2429-2: The best sub compact bandsaw ? Sun, 23 Apr 2017 06:49:25 +0000 Finding the perfect tool is an amazing feeling that always reminds of the scene where Harry Potter is choosing the wand. You don’t choose the wand – it chooses you! That is to say that when you find the perfect tool, you know it.

And the perfect tool will vary from person to person. It all depends on the kind of work you intend to do, the way you prefer to operate and even little details like how strong you are or how big your hands are. But when you find the right match for you, it will fit snugly into your hand, glide through whatever material you throw at it and ultimately help you to up your game. It becomes an extension of your own arm, a joy to use and something you are always reaching for.


Is the Milwaukee 2429-21 the perfect cordless bandsaw for you?


When you picture a bandsaw, you might well think of a benchtop bandsaw or a free-standing unit. The Milwaukee 2429-21 is far removed from those types of saws though and is instead a light tool that can be held in one hand in order to make quick and dirty cuts.

The design is built around this notion. It has a nice, slim and ergonomic handle along the top, a trigger located in just the right place and a rugged design in red and black. The cordless nature of the bandsaw makes it more versatile still, meaning you don’t need to worry about finding a power outlet or having cabled dangling all over the material you’re trying to cut.

The blade length is 27” x ½” x .020”. This gives a 1-5/8” cut capacity, which is fairly good for the small size. It is a 12V tool and has an SFPM of 280. While this can be used for cutting wood then, the small cutting depth means that it is going to be somewhat limited in that regard. Therefore you may find you are more likely to use it for cutting pipes or tubing. For cutting thicker wood, you’ll either need to spend a little more, or you’ll need to consider using a reciprocating saw instead. Think of it as your perfect replacement for a hacksaw.

The battery will give you up to 150 cuts per charge.

Lightweight but powerful enough ?

The Milwaukee 2429-21 is a very lightweight and easy-to-use saw that is perfect as a replacement for a hacksaw. If you are tired of sawing through thin branches or cutting through piping, then you’ll find that having something powered to do the same job is a life saver.

As for woodwork, this certainly can be useful for cutting through thin pieces of wood if that’s something you find yourself doing often. It’s not so precise as using a tabletop bandsaw or as easy to control as a jigsaw but in a pinch, it will do the job.

The tool looks good too and comes with a couple of nice extra features. For instance, there is an LED light that highlights the cutline for you and the pack includes a carry case and charger. Another pro is the safety. This is suitable for one handed use and meets the OSHA guarding requirements.

The drawback of course is that you’re not going to use this for cutting through thicker materials and you’re not going to use it for very precise jobs. This is more of a DIY tool to keep around the house in other words.

Another slight drawback is the omission of a hook. There are ways around this limitations but it would have been nice for those who like to hang their tools on the wall and it’s a shame not to see it included here.


In conclusion then, the Milwaukee 2429-21 is a handy tool to keep around if you are looking to cut through piping and tubing. It has a range of other great uses too but isn’t going to replace a table-top bandsaw anytime soon. If you are looking for a useful cutting implement you can use to save yourself some elbow grease, then this is well made with lots of positive reviews and we can recommend it!

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Hitachi M12VC Router Review: Meet Mr.Woodgilder! Sun, 23 Apr 2017 06:38:57 +0000 Some people claim that the router is the single most versatile tool in any workshop. It’s easy to see why: with a router you can make nice deep cuts in any surface, starting right from the middle if it is a plunge router. You can then use this to do everything from cutting grooves, to cutting straight through wood, to making intricate patterns and decorative fluting. It can take the place of a miter saw by allowing you to make stunning bevel cuts, it can round of edges and when you own one you’ll constantly find new things for it to do besides.

With all that in mind then, it follows that getting the right router is a good investment. This is a tool you’re going to find yourself constantly reaching for and it’s a tool that can take the place of many others. But not every router is made equal and in order to get the very best results, you need to do your research and ensure you are spending your money well.

So the question is: is the Hitachi M12VC money well-spent?

Gliding through wood…

The Hitachi M12VC is a powerful looking tool that has a lot of heft to it. It’s particularly thick and wide and has an imposing grey and green colorscheme. The top of the router has the appearance almost of a robotic visor. All in all, it makes a good first impression and looks and feels well made and like a serious piece of kit.

What’s more important when it comes to design though is just how the tool feels to hold. The good news is that it is very comfortable and ergonomically designed. You should have no problem using this for long stretches without feeling too much fatigue.

So far so good. But how does it actually perform?

Well, with a 2-1/4 HP motor powering it, you can rest assured that this is no slouch in the power department. The Hitachi M12VC has no problem whatsoever when it comes to gliding through a range of woods and other materials and for the price you really are getting a lot of power here – we were very impressed in our reviews and found that it made some other routers we’ve used lately seem relatively underpowered!

Better yet is the fact that the motor is also a variable speed. That means you can adjust the speed to suit the nature of the job you’re doing – speeding it up if you’re cutting through tough woods for instance or slowing it down where a little more delicate care is required.

Also impressive is the usual electronic speed control to ensure constant RPMs under heavy loads. This results in some vary straight and smooth cuts. The noise level is also low and with a 2-stage motor release clamp, depth adjustments are also easy.

The good and bad

This is a router that has an awful lot going for it. It is incredibly powerful for the amount you’re paying, it is very well made and it has a lot of functionality thanks to the variable speed controls, easy depth adjustment and more. In short, it really is up to most tasks you can throw at it and it represents particularly good value for money.

But there are a couple of faults that prevent this from being an absolutely perfect experience. For one, the plunge base is a little stiff out of the box and requires some adjustment. Likewise, bits can occasionally come lose if you aren’t cautious.

Summary & Conclusion

These flaws are minor though and can be easily fixed. You will need to do a little adjusting and for that reason, absolute beginners might be better off with something else. But if you’re willing to tweak, then you’re getting one of the best routers out there in terms of the power, function and price. It is rare to see something this powerful for such a low cost and especially with variable speed control as well. This is highly recommended for pros and intermediates.

So what do you think? Is the Hitachi M12VC a great deal? Let us know in the comments below or check out some of our other reviews for a range of other great tools!

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Testing the BLACK & DECKER BDCR20B – The archetypical Recip Saw ? Sun, 23 Apr 2017 05:08:44 +0000 A new tool for your workshop means new possibilities and new things you can do. Moreover, it often also means fewer things that you can’t do. Fewer scenarios where you need to fix something around the house and just don’t have the available tool for the job. Fewer situations where you try and cut that piece of pipe, cord or wood and find that the equipment you have just isn’t up to the task.

This is certainly the case when you add a reciprocating saw to your arsenal. This is a tool that lacks finesse. This is not a piece of equipment for woodworkers who take pride in creating beautiful and perfect pieces of furniture. Neither is it something that you will enjoy using to make intricate patterns.

What it is is a tool that you’re going to pull out time and time again for all manner of odd jobs around the house. This is something you can use free hand and that will give you plenty of power for reaching into crevices and even around corners in some case. It is power on a stick.

And for those reasons, it doesn’t need to be particularly fancy or expensive – but you should get yourself one.

So how does the BLACK+DECKER BDCR20B stack up?

A typical recip saw ?

If a reciprocating saw is a down and dirty piece of equipment, then this is the archetypal reciprocating saw. That is to say that there are no fancy features here and this is no beautiful or powerful-looking piece of equipment. It’s just an orange and black handle with a saw poking out the end and that’s fine.

It’s still good quality for the money though and you know it’s going to do the job from the name alone. Black and Decker make highly reliable and functional tools and this one is no different.

The stroke length is 7/8-inch. There is a pivoting shoe to give you a little more versatility in terms of how you’re working and the saw is capable of 3,000 strokes per minute. The good news is that you also get variable speed in the trigger, this is very important because it means you can choose precisely how much power you want to use and how much speed – when cutting through metal for instance, you are going to find yourself using a much slower speed but you still need that power.

What’s also always important with a reciprocating saw is that the blade be easy to change. This is a tool-less job, which means you can easily pop the blade out and stick a new one in to suit the type of job that you’re doing.

This is a battery powered saw that will last a decent amount of time but note that this is sold as a bare tool, so you’ll need to get all your bits and pieces separately.

The good and the bad …

The good thing about this tool is that it is powerful and versatile for the price. The pivoting shoe really is very handy and this is great when combined with the variable speeds. In short, you can use this to tackle a range of jobs. The power is also going to be more than adequate for most household tasks, even if there are beefier tools out there.

The weight is good and this makes it easier to work at unusual angles. Of course this is a big advantage of any battery-powered recip saw.

On the negative end of things though, you will find that the tool vibrates a little bit during use and can occasionally show its limitations in that regard. The price is very good but of course it’s important to remember that this is a bare tool and to factor that in when considering the total cost.

What is left to say ?

Overall, this is a good if very basic recip saw. It does what it says on the tin, which is to lie in weight, always ready to go and capable of cutting through all manner of things when you don’t need any particular precision. This is a tool that you’ll find yourself reaching for often and while this certainly isn’t the most advanced of its kind, it’s perfectly fit for purpose and offers everything that most people will need.

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Makita XRJ01Z Reciprocating Saw Review Mon, 17 Apr 2017 09:55:51 +0000 A reciprocating saw is something that you should always have handy. This is a tool that will adapt itself to pretty much any situation you could need it to and the reason for that is that it is small, light, bendy and surprisingly powerful. You won’t want to use this for making very precise cuts and of course it isn’t quite as powerful as some other tools. But when you need to hack off a branch, or cut through the end of a pipe, or saw the end off a piece of wood without needing to be precise… that’s when the reciprocating saw comes into its own!
A reciprocating saw is essentially a handheld tool that is often cordless and that has a blade sticking out the end. When you squeeze the trigger at the end, the saw will move back and forth in order to cut through whatever you aim it at. But because it’s light, there’s nothing to stop you from fitting it into small gaps or handling it at any kind of awkward angle. And because the blade bends around, you can cut at a range of different angles too.

So that’s the reciprocating saw. What about the Makita XRJ01Z reciprocating saw specifically? What does it bring to the table? Let’s find out.

More about this badboy 😀

The Makita XRJ01Z is a cool looking reciprocating saw in an aqua blue/green colorscheme. It’s particularly nice to look at thanks to its slick design as well, which actually makes it feel almost like a swordfish or a shark of some kind. It just looks mean, slick and powerful.

The tool is also very ergonomic and comfortable to hold. It’s small and light and the handle comes off at an angle which actually makes it particularly well balanced. On top of that, you have a very light device that nevertheless feels like it is well made and isn’t going to fall apart in your hands (which is always nice!). The whole thing weighs just 3.9lbs and is just 15-5/8” long. That’s ideal for fitting into small crevices.

The blade change is tool-less, which is also something that you should always look for. This is important as it means you can just swap out the blade whenever you need a specific one for a specific job.

There’s a variable speed setting here which is good and which allows you to go up to 3,000 strokes per minute – which is plenty. The stroke length is ½”, which isn’t the best in class however.

The lithium ion battery is a very decent performer though and won’t run out of steam any time soon allowing you to work for longer without breaks (that’s a good thing… right?) and there’s even a built-in fan to cool the battery at the time. A 3 year warranty rounds off the package and shows confidence in the device.

Give it to me straight: Pros and Cons!

This is a well made device that looks good, that offers decent RPM and that has variable speed settings. It is light and easy to use from a variety of different angles and all of that makes this a very versatile and welcome tool.

Those are the positives.

So how about the negatives? Well, the first thing to consider here is that the tool is a little bit short on the stroke length. It’s not terrible but it’s also not exceptional by any stretch. That means that the blade is likely to wear out a little quicker and it gives you a bit less versatility when it comes to completing a range of jobs.

There is also no light, which is a shame on a recip saw. Again, this is not a requirement so it would be unfair to hark on. However, a tool this versatile begs to be used in any lighting. There are also no orbital settings, which would have been nice.

What’s left to say?

Overall, this is a great reciprocating saw that does what you would expect it to for the price. Most people just need something basic that can cut through pipes and branches and that’s what this is. If you’re looking for orbital settings and lights though, or if you want a longer stroke length, you may want to keep looking.

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Makita RT0701C Review: A good handheld router for beginners ? Mon, 17 Apr 2017 09:49:48 +0000 The Makita RT0701C is a handheld router, which instantly makes it one of the most powerful and versatile tools on the planet. While there are some tools that you only bring out for very specific occasions, the router is a tool that you will find yourself using pretty much daily. This is one of those ‘bread and butter’ tools that you just can’t do without.

And with that in mind, it’s highly important that you think carefully when you choose what kind of router you want to get. Of course you will be limited to an extent by things like the cost, the space etc. But ultimately, the best strategy is to get the best handheld router you possibly can, as you’re going to use this for everything from rounding off edges on pieces of wood, cutting grooves, puncturing holes or even creating decorative fluting.

So, the question is whether or not the Makita RT0701C has what it takes to be your new compact router? It’s certainly compact and it’s rather budget too. But how does it perform?

Is it for you?

The Makita RT0701C is a compact router with a variable speed dial that lets you set it from 10,000 to 30,000RPM. That’s a very convenient way of being able to change the speed of the tool and it’s also a very useful function to have. Being able to change the speed on a router means that you can use it on a number of different surfaces and materials and this means that it will be even more versatile as a result – whether you’re working with wood, plastic, metal or another material, the Makita RT0701C should be able to do what you need it to.

So it’s off to a good start. What else has it got? Well, at 1 ¼ HP, it’s actually fairly powerful considering the size and considering the price. When looking at performance, often the most fair way to judge is in terms of the ‘cost to power’ ratio. And in this case, it comes out shining. It’s not going to replace any large desktop routers but for a cheap and cheerful handheld tool, it’s not bad at all.

You also get more versatility thanks to a capable quick release cam lock that will allow you to adjust the depth of the tool This is great for cutting holes, for making grooves and more.

As is quite often the case with this kind of tool, you also get electronic speed control. This means that the speed will stay constant as you’re working and not be affected by changes in the wood material, or by your own fluctuations in speed and angle. Another good feature to look out for. Soft start feature only further enhances this smooth operation and hopefully smooth work that will result from it. The base accepts industry standard template guides, which is good news for if you want to follow set paths and create patterns etc.

In terms of the look, the tool is also very nicely put together. It is colored in the usual Matika green and silver and has two firm handles on the sides. These are comfortable to hold, even for long periods and all in all, it’s a well put together package.

What are the Pros and Cons?

The Makita RT0701C is not going to set the world alight. There’s nothing new or incredibly top-end here. If you’re looking for something completely futureproof that you can use as a professional, then you might want to look for something a little more powerful.

The tool also does not come with an adaptor for the template guide and that means you’ll have to buy it separately.

But these are minor complaints for what is actually one of the very best budget routers on the market. The power is great, the build quality is up there and in terms of features, it has everything you could need. The reviews on Amazon are excellent too and it’s easy to see why.


Overall, this is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a beginner router. There’s just nothing wrong with it – it is well made, very capable and excellent value in terms of its power. It is highly recommended.

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